The Boston Celtics are entering an off season with many questions, but many ways to solve this problem. With the assets amassed by Ainge the Celtics find themselves in a position where they can go in about 100 different ways in upgrading their roster. Celtics fans have gone crazy with the idea of Kevin Love, Gordon Hayward, and even Carmelo Anthony. Like most Boston natives I’m very familiar with how these hype factors always work out so instead of buying into it, I’ve decided to take a more realistic approach to what the lineup will look like for the 2014-2015 Boston Celtics.
The first idea we need to understand is that the Celtics weren’t as bad as their record indicated. Last of the games they lost 63% of them were by 10 points or less meaning that for a majority of their losses they were actually in all those games. Starting the year without Rondo, and not having a real facilitator or person who could create their own shot consistently enough plagued the Celtics, but they still went out and fought every game hard, which says a lot about the coaching staff they have in Boston. The reason for bringing this up is because I believe that Boston won’t reload this off season by throwing all their assets in one superstar, but by using their assets to attain primary needs that were much needed throughout their dreadful 2013 campaign.
One of the first things that Boston will want to address is their size, they haven’t had a true center since the departure of Kendrick Perkins, and it’s haunted them to this day. To solve this look no further than Greg Monroe. The 23 year old has spent his time playing out of position because of rising superstar Andre Drummond, but at 6’11 his shown he can score and defend while being a big rim protector that the Celtics have needed for years. Drummond is a restricted free agent, and with the Celtics cap situation I doubt that Boston could get him in that route, but through a sign and trade we can pull it off. The Celtics would send Kelly Olynk, and Avery Bradley to Detroit for Andre Drummond. Olynk, though a fan favorite wasn’t strong enough to play the 5 though he showed flashes, and he was seldom ever getting a chance to play his position because of the surplus of Power Forward’s. This move will allow him to develop at his natural position, and give Detroit a nice new young piece to work with. Bradley who was set to test free agency will be put in a system where he can only focus on playing the 2, with Jennings taking the lion’s share at ball handling duties. Both teams are given something that they wanted, and the numbers match-up correctly so I could fully see a deal like this coming about.
Next move Boston will make I believe will be acquiring a pick in the second round of this year’s draft. This draft doesn’t have many superstars, but it has a ton of players that can be role players and starters for years to come, even in the second round they’ll still be available talent that they can build with. The team with the most 2nd round picks is Philly, and they also have a disgruntled power forward in Thaddeus Young who wants to leave the team immediately. I believe the Celtics could swoop in and offer Brandon bass, and Vitor Favareni to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young and a second round pick in this year’s draft. Philadelphia will get to grant Young his wish in leaving the team, and also acquire a player in Bass who can do just the same amount of things that young can do, and is a consistent professional who just wants to do his job and go home. Boston receives a solid role player who can provide good minutes, and start occasionally while securing a second round pick in this year’s draft.
The next step would be the NBA draft, because Boston has the sixth pick we won’t be getting Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, or Exum unless something miraculous happens, but I wouldn’t count on it. These would leave us to most likely draft the best player possible, which at 6 would be Marcus Smart. Smart is a natural born leader but more importantly his capable of playing both the one and the two and he has the physical tools, and IQ to start from day one. Though he has an inconsistent jump shot Ron Adams an assistant for Brad Stevens is regarded as a sort of jump shot guru, and with the work his done with Bradley and Rondo who’s jump shot were near nonexistence he could make a streaky shooter turn into a very consistent shooter. With the 17th pick the Celtics should look no further than P.J Hairston, he would have easily been a top 10 pick if he was in school, and Celtics would have a player that they could either start alongside Rondo or bring off the bench for offensive power. Finally, with the second round pick they would receive from Philadelphia the Celtics should take Deandre Daniels the forward from Uconn. His size fits the mode of a prototypical Small Forward, and his length gives him an advantage when taking difficult shots. While learning behind Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green he should be able to patch up the weak points of his game such as his defensive technique, and increasing mass so he can be impactful in the next level.
Finally, the last step the Celtics need to make is testing the free agency market for serviceable players. Their biggest goal should be to resign Spencer Hawes who along with Greg Monroe and Colton Iverson (bet you forgot about him) will give the Celtics more Center depth than they have had in years. Their next, and final signing should be re-signing Jerrad Bayless and Kris Humphries. Though I really considered that they should make a move for Jodie Meeks, I believe that Bayless will end up being the more productive player because he knows the system, and he can play both the one and the two which would give the Celtics 3 points guards who can play either spot (Rondo, Smart, Bayless). Signing Humphries gives us the necessary depth at Power Forward, and gives us another guy who knows the system, and can be productive when his number is called.
After all that my opening that starting 5 would be
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Jared Sullinger
C: Greg Monore
PG’s: Jerrad Bayless, Phil Pressey
SG’s: P.J Hairston, Jerrad Bayless, Keith Bogans
SF’s: Gerald Wallace, Deandre Daniels
PF’s: Thaddeus Young, Kris Humphries
C’s: Hawes, Iverson
This Roster allows the Celtics to retain assets such as the Keith Bogans contract, and all are draft picks while allowing the team to get better by adding more talent in positions of need. It also creates a roster that has a young nucleus that can compete not just this year, but for years to come while under a good coaching system, and multiple draft picks for years to come to continue to blossom the team from the ground up which for the Celtics is usually the most realistic way. I would project this team to win 43-47 games.